Journal Essay

The Troubles in Syria: Spawned by French Divide and Rule

Ayse Tekdal Fildis

Winter 2011, Volume XVIII, Number 4

Dr. Fildis is a tutor at ACRES Beacon College in the UK. She holds a Ph.D in Middle East politics from the University of Sussex.

The Middle East, as we know it from today's headlines, emerged from decisions made by the Allies during and after the First World War. Great Britain and France transformed what had been relatively quiet provinces of the Ottoman Empire into some of the least stable and internationally explosive states in the world. As a consequence, the First World War agreements are at the very heart of the current conflicts and politics in the Middle East. The partition lines in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire originally laid down the terms of the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement in April-May 1916. The agreement gave Mesopotamia (Iraq), the Gulf and the regions bordering Palestine to Great Britain, and Syria and most of the eastern part of the region to France. Britain's interest in the provinces focused on safeguarding the route to India, securing cheap and accessible oil for the Empire's needs, maintaining the balance of power in the Mediterranean to its advantage, and protecting its financial concerns. France hoped to preserve her centuries-old ties with the Syrian Catholics, gain a strategic and economic base in the eastern Mediterranean, ensure a cheap supply of cotton and silk and prevent Arab nationalism from infecting her North African empire. This study will focus on the establishment of the French mandate, its implementation, and the partition process in Greater Syria. It will also review France's responsibilities under the Mandate Act of the League Nations.


World War I witnessed the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, under which most Arab countries had lived for centuries and which had served as some kind of protection against European rule. Syria had been under the ultimate authority of the Ottoman administration for more than 400 years. When the Allied powers advanced into Syria, the political divisions of the country followed the lines of the provincial administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire. Syria did not have a definite territorial border. "Syria" in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was a geographic entity, known at various times as "Greater Syria," "Geographical Syria" or "Natural Syria." Geographical Syria consisted of a number of Ottoman vilayets (administrative divisions). The region was delimited by Aqaba and Sinai on the south, the Taurus Mountains on the north, the Syrian Desert on the east, and the Mediterranean Sea on the west — currently comprising Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. After the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, new national identities, citizenship and social class came to coexist with, or challenge and even replace, the identities of clan, tribe and religion.

Soon after the Allied Powers' occupation, the settlement began to take final form: a boundary was drawn roughly halfway across Syria from east to west, dividing the Syrian rectangle into two parts. The southern part, called Palestine, was assigned to Great Britain; the northern part, called Syria and Lebanon, was assigned to France. The southern part was further subdivided into Palestine, to the west, and Transjordan — an entirely new name — to the east of the River Jordan. Syria was subdivided into five parts: Lebanon, including as its principal towns Tripoli, Beirut, Sidon and Tyre; the state of Syria, with the main towns of Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Damascus; the mountainous region of the Jabal al-Druze, with Suaida as the principal town; the Sanjak of Latakia, with Latakia as its principal town; and the Sanjak of Alexandretta, in theory part of Syria, but in practice separate and subject to a special autonomous form of government.1


The formulation of a postwar settlement for the Middle East was agreed upon at the San Remo Conference in April 1920. The former Ottoman provinces were divided into entities called mandates. The new mandates were awarded conditionally and under the supervision of an outside authority, the League of Nations. Over the next decade, the populations of these territories were arbitrarily and artificially divided. The mandatory powers, Britain and France, delineated new desert frontiers and communal boundaries. In Syria, the French went further, creating semi-autonomous local states within a national polity.

While the Allied Powers gathered in Paris to sort out their conflicting interests, Amir Faysal Ibn Husayni, field commander of the Arab revolt, was forming an independent Arab government in Damascus. General Sir Edmund Allenby, supreme commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, had allowed Faysal to administer Syrian affairs from Damascus. On October 5, 1918, Amir Faysal claimed an "independent Arab constitutional government with authority over all Syria" and a Syrian Congress in Damascus, which sealed Faysal's fate as king of a united Syria.2 For France, the Faysal government would have to either be brought under French control or be broken militarily. Since the Syrian Congress asserted Faysal's claims to Palestine as well as Lebanon and soon demanded independence for Mesopotamia, British interests, too, were threatened by the proclamation of Faysal as king. Britain would not allow Syrian nationalism to disrupt British control over Mesopotamia and Palestine. As a consequence, British Foreign Secretary Lord George Nathaniel Curzon and Secretary General of the Quai d'Orsay, Philippe Berthelot, had no difficulty agreeing on the terms of a joint declaration condemning the emir's foolhardy action.3 In October, Faysal was called to London and told to settle with France on the best terms he could obtain. To make sure he did so, the British government cut his monthly subsidy by half, leaving France to pay the other half.4 Under pressure from the British, Faysal arrived in Paris on October 20 for a discussion with Premier George Clemenceau.

On January 6, 1920, it was secretly agreed that France would recognize the partial independence of Syria and Faysal as king if Syria remained under French control and influence. The agreement defined by the Paris Peace Conference would be established at the San Remo Conference. Syria was to accept the French mandate, thus relying entirely on French military and economic help; furthermore, France would control Syria's foreign policy. Additionally, Syria had to recognize the independence of Lebanon under the French mandate.5 Their agreement allowed Amir Faysal to rule an independent Syria over which France would exercise only a loose trusteeship. From the point of view of Clemenceau, these were generous terms: "No other French politician would have agreed to let Arab Syria retain a certain measure of independence or offered to let the pro-British Faysal remain in Damascus, let alone as Syria's monarch."6

On January 20, 1920, Alexandre Millerand, whose government was far more interventionist, replaced Clemenceau. Unlike his predecessor, Millerand was to devote special attention to French policy in the Levant and to be directly involved in its formulation. Almost from the moment he assumed power, Millerand called a halt to the friendly relations that had begun to develop between Faysal and France at the end of 1919. When Faysal reported this confidential deal to his supporters in Damascus, they forced him to abandon it. His supporters were mainly the Party of Arab Independence (Hizb al-istiqlal al-Arabi), set up by al-Fatat and by then in full control of the Syrian Congress. Faysal was no longer free to decide Syria's fate on his own. Al-Fatat made him call back the Syrian Congress, which had already met in July 1919. On March 7, 1920, the congress declared the unconditional independence of Syria. The following day Faysal was reluctantly declared king of the "United Syrian Kingdom," which was to include Palestine and Lebanon and reject a Jewish national home in Palestine. An official Syrian government was immediately set up in Damascus.7 The convocation of the Syrian Congress in Damascus and the coronation of Faysal began a new phase in the deteriorating relations between France and the king. Millerand declared the congressional resolution to be "null and void" and refused to recognize Faysal as king of Syria.8

The San Remo Conference of April 1920, where the nature of the mandates was decided jointly by Britain and France, granting France the mandate for Syria and Lebanon, and Great Britain the mandate for Palestine, and Iraq, was a turning point in the history of the Middle East. France agreed to abandon Palestine and Mosul to the British, acquiring only a 25 percent share of Mosul's oil. France now could contemplate war with Faysal without having to worry about British intervention. For the French, the most important result of San Remo was to clear the way for a final settlement with Faysal. France now had the diplomatic, if not yet the military, means to impose terms on Faysal. The unilateral British decision to evacuate their army from Syria at the end of 1919 had already undermined Faysal's position.9 Once the mandates had been assigned, Britain had to accept that the French were free to act in their zone, as the British were in theirs. Planning for the campaign against Faysal could now begin. On June 29, the British government was told of the coming offensive and warned not to meddle.10

The San Remo pronouncement angered the Arab nationalists, who urged Faysal to defy the Allied Powers. More cautious voices advised him to seek a compromise that might somehow satisfy French demands and still preserve the Syrian kingdom. Ever since his return to Syria in January 1920, Faysal had been vacillating between the necessity to seek an agreement with France and the demand of the Syrian nationalists to proclaim complete independence from France. As Faysal told a British officer in Beirut after his return, "The attitude of the British authorities gave him no choice.... He had been handed over tied by feet and hands to the French." 11 Faysal was uncertain what advice to follow; he endeavoured to open negotiations with the French commander-in-chief, General Gouraud, in Beirut. On July 14, 1920, Gouraud sent Faysal an ultimatum that included five demands to be accepted or rejected as a whole within four days:

(1) Unconditional acceptance of the French mandate
(2) Acceptance of the French Syrian paper money based on the franc
(3) Abolition of conscription and reduction of the army to the numbers on December 1, 1919
(4) French military occupation of the railway and stations from Riyaq to Aleppo
(5) Punishment of persons implicated in hostile acts against the French.12

Although Faysal accepted the ultimatum in principle, Gouraud was ordered not to negotiate. He disregarded Faysal's last-minute unconditional acceptance of the ultimatum. The French had already decided to seize Syria, and on July 26, 1920, they occupied Damascus, overthrowing Faysal and his nationalist government. On July 27, Faysal was deposed and sent into exile. He left on July 28, though a year later; he was put on the throne of the British mandate of Iraq. British officials felt a nagging sense of responsibility toward Faysal for his wartime activities. On the other hand, they felt he had learned a valuable lesson in Syria that would make him an ideal ruler in Iraq: "He had learned the limits of Arab nationalism and of Europe's superior strength."13 After the occupation of Damascus, Millerand, the French prime minister, proclaimed that Syria henceforth would be held by France: "The whole of it, and forever."14


Popular resistance to European control was strongest within Faysal's short-lived Damascus regime. This resistance came from both the Arab political societies, dominated by Iraqi and Syrian officers of the Arab army, and the wider populations of Damascus and Aleppo, enraged by Faysal's capitulation to the French.15 The establishment of the French mandate in Syria was contingent upon weakening Arab nationalism. First, Syria should be divided into segments to block nationalist sentiment and action. Second, there should be an indigenous façade behind which the French would be in control. "La Syrie Intégrale," Greater Syria would be ruled as a group of states under the control of the high commissioner. The remaining issues were how many states there would be and on which basis they should be divided.

Greater Lebanon

The partition began with Le Grand Liban, Greater Lebanon, proclaimed by General Gouraud at the end of August 1920. This area corresponded roughly to the area of direct rule promised to France in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Lebanon, as it is known today, had never been a state or even a defined geographical region. It was always part of an empire — and since the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire.16 While many Muslims supported Faysal's regime in Syria, most Christians, especially the Maronites, saw salvation in France and were violently hostile to him. For them, an enlarged Mount Lebanon under French protection now seemed the only basis for their security. By 1919, Patriarch Hawayik was ready to lead his community in their demand to be ruled by France. The Maronite dream of Greater Lebanon was finally realized: in addition to the largely Christian mountainous region, it comprised the predominantly Muslim coastal cities of Tripoli, Sidon and Tyre and their administrative hinterlands, and the capital of Beirut, with a population nearly evenly mixed between Christians and Muslims. France also removed the largely Muslim-inhabited Beqaa Valley from Syrian jurisdiction and placed it within the frontiers of the expanded Lebanese state. Since the French were partial to the Maronites and members of the other Eastern Christian churches, other social and religious groups formed an anti-French, anti-Maronite alliance. Most of Lebanon's newly acquired "citizens" did not want to be part of a Maronite-dominated Lebanon and campaigned for union with the rest of Syria.17

According to the investigation of the King-Crane Commission in 1919, the inhabitants of Greater Lebanon were deeply divided over its future. On the Christian side, almost all Maronites, Greek Orthodox and Catholics supported a French mandate and the separation of Syria and Lebanon. On the Muslim side, almost all Sunnis wanted incorporation into an independent Syria; the Druze, led by two powerful families in Lebanon, the Jamblatts and the Arslans, were strongly against a French-dominated Lebanon; and the Shiis of Jabal Amil in the south were afraid of both the Sunnis and the Christians and wanted a loose connection with Syria.18

The main beneficiaries of this territorial partition were France's clients, the Maronite Christians. French policy increased the possibility of sectarian conflict. With the exception of Beirut, the areas added to Lebanon contained a predominantly Muslim population, whose members objected to being placed within a Christian-dominated polity. The evolution of Lebanese political life was affected by the competition between conflicting sectarian interests, as Muslim groups attacked the leadership position of the Maronite minority. Greater Lebanon was brought into existence to provide the Maronites with a distinct political entity in which they were the single largest community. However, they did not make up the majority of the population. By adding several Muslim areas to the new state, the French reduced the Maronites to about 30 percent of the population.19 The French did not want to exclude the Muslims from participating in the Lebanese government. They had recognized that the separate existence of Lebanon depended on Muslim acceptance. The Maronites saw Lebanon as their own Christian homeland; Sunni Muslims, however, demanded unity with Syria and looked towards the wider Arab world for their source of identity. Therefore, there was no common identity in Greater Lebanon at its birth and no instinct to become a nation; it was just a Christian-dominated French power based in the Middle East.

Interior Syria

France continued to follow a policy of divide and rule, splitting the territory along regional and ethnic lines in the remaining parts of Syria. Arab nationalism was developed mainly by the Sunni Muslim community and perceived by the French as a threat to their authority, as well as to the Christian and heterodox Muslim communities (Druze and global Alawites). In stressing communal differences and aspirations, they claimed to be bowing to political reality and popular feeling.20 However, their perception of political reality conveniently fit the French desire to weaken pan-Syrian reaction and Arab nationalism and to reinforce their rule by courting potentially Francophile minorities. The only cordial welcome extended to the French from the Muslim community was from those urban notables who had been pushed aside by nationalist forces during the Faysal period.

Well before July 1920, Robert de Caix, the chief architect of French policy in Syria prior to and during World War I, had opposed the creation of a unified Syrian state in the territory that remained after the creation of a separate Lebanese state, arguing that it would have an Arab and Muslim orientation, would be hostile to France and would project a dangerous influence on French North Africa. He advocated the creation of small states, reflecting the country's regional and ethnic diversity.21 The territory of Geographical Syria was predominantly Arab, and among the Arabs pan-Arab nationalism held sway. General Gouraud, the first high commissioner, and his influential aide de Caix sought to take advantage of the local and communal particularisms in order to break Syria up and reshape it gradually to their liking.22

In 1920, France carved out a series of separate political units, the existence of which was designed to obstruct the progress of the Syrian national identity. They created the two separate states of Aleppo and Damascus, which included the districts of Homs and Hama, the two next-largest urban centers in the mandate. Both of these states were ruled by a local governor supported by a French adviser. The Sanjak of Alexandretta, with its significant Turkish population, enjoyed a largely autonomous administration in the Aleppo state. In a further effort at political fragmentation, France stressed the distinctiveness of Syria's two regionally compact minority groups, the Alawites and the Druze.23 In 1922, the Jabal al-Druze region, which was located in an area of Druze concentration south of Damascus, was proclaimed a separate unit under French protection, with its own governor and elected congress. The mountain district behind Latakia, with its large Alawite population, became a special administrative regime under heavy French protection and was proclaimed a separate state. Later, in 1922, all but the Jabal al-Druze were united in a Syrian Federation, which was dissolved at the end of 1924 and replaced by a Syrian state comprising Aleppo and Damascus and a separate Sanjak of Alexandretta (later the Autonomous Republic of Hatay). However, the Alawite state was excluded from this new arrangement. In 1939, after two long years of haggling, France conceded the Sanjak of Alexandretta to Turkey in a bid for Turkish neutrality in the event of war;24 the decision was bitterly resented by the Arab nationalists.

Except for a brief period from 1936 to 1939, the Alawite and Druze states were administratively separate from Syria until 1942. Despite the variety of administration in Syria's outlying areas, ever since 1925, Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo were consistently under one administration. Nationalist pressure and expenses forced France to unite Damascus and Aleppo. The Alawite and Jabal al-Druze territories were kept in shifting degrees of administrative isolation and political insulation from these centers for the better part of France's tenure in Syria. "French policy was clear: if the mandate authority could not break the back of the nationalist movement, the next best alternative was to contain it in its heartland."25

During much of the mandate era, this strategy helped to define the extent of the nationalist movement. The French managed to hinder the nationalist movement from infecting the minority-inhabited areas and to cut its ties to the urban nationalist opposition in the peripheral regions. Due to this strategy, the Syrian nationalist movement encountered great difficulties in expanding the base of its activities beyond Damascus, Aleppo, Hama and Homs.

Some of Syria's religious and ethnic minorities, such as Kurds, Armenians, Jews and various Christian sects, were widely dispersed and did not have a geographical base to give rise to political unity, whereas the Alawites and Druze were compact regional minorities with considerable political unity. However, in the end, even with French support, the Alawite and Druze communities were not viable as national entities. Their autonomy mainly had been fostered by the French in an attempt to break Syrian unity. By the end of the mandate, Alawite and Druze areas were incorporated into the larger Syrian state by the French. Nonetheless, minority consciousness, reinforced by a combination of geography, religious differences, communal segregation and regional separatism, had a damaging impact on Syrian political life even long after the mandate.26


The mandate system was little more than nineteenth-century imperialism repackaged to give the appearance of self-determination. According to the principle of the mandate, an "advanced" state was going to tutor a less-advanced state in the complexities of democratic self-government until it was ready to rule itself. Imperial domination was formally qualified to provide for eventual full independence. It was perceived as a liberal concept that covered and "legitimized" outright imperial control. In contrast to a colony or protectorate, the mandate was officially a provisional arrangement, although its length was unspecified.

The Ottoman Middle East was carved up into "A" mandates, where the mandatory powers (Britain in Iraq and Palestine, France in Syria and Lebanon) were merely to provide "administrative advice and assistance" to peoples soon to be granted self-government in theory. All mandates were to be administered on the principle that (as Article 22 of the League Covenant put it) "the well-being and development of such peoples" — that is, of "peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world" — "form a sacred trust of civilization."27 The mandates in the Middle East were established in spite of the local populations' clear preference for independence and, in the case of Syria and Lebanon, their deep-rooted objection to the assignment of the mandate to France. Article I of the Mandate Act for Syria and Lebanon states,

The Mandatory shall frame, within a period of three years from the coming into force of this mandate, an organic law for Syria and Lebanon.
This organic law shall be framed in agreement with the native authorities and shall take into account the rights, interests and wishes of all the population inhabiting the said territory. The mandatory shall further enact measures to facilitate the progressive development of Syria and Lebanon as independent states. Pending the coming into effect of the organic law, the Government of Syria and the Lebanon shall be conducted in accordance with the spirit of this mandate.
The Mandatory shall, as far as circumstances permit, encourage local autonomy.28

On July 24, 1922, the League of Nations formally awarded France the mandate that it was already exercising over Syria and Lebanon. By the time it came into force on September 29, 1923, the French had already made de facto arrangements for the establishment of boundaries and forms of administration that the League of Nations was in no position to reverse.29

The mandate committed France to "facilitate their progressive development as independent states." France was to have served as a trustee for the League of Nations. However, as Millerand made clear, the reality was different from the theory. There was nothing altruistic about France's desire to have a mandate in the Middle East:

In assuming the mandate in Syria, France has not attempted to create a new colony but to maintain a century-old situation necessary for her place in the Mediterranean; she [France] wishes to ensure her influence there....30

The obligations of the mandate meant little in practice; France continued to regard her Middle Eastern mandates as imperial possessions. France did not observe the spirit of Article I. No organic law was established within the three-year period from the initiation of the mandate on September 29, 1923. In September 1926, the Supreme Council of the League of Nations had, for the third time, acquiesced to France's request, this time for a further six-month delay. In March 1927, France officially asked the council to grant France a further delay of unspecified length. The alleged reason was the antagonism among the diverse communities, some of whom wished to be politically autonomous.31

In 1926, a constitution had been formulated for Lebanon, and a start was made on Syria's constitution. The Syrian Constituent Assembly was elected in 1928, and with a nationalist majority they ratified a constitution of 115 articles in August of that year. Inspired by the European democratic system, it adopted a parliamentary republic "with a single Chamber to be elected, for four years, by universal suffrage exercised in two stages."32 The most important point in the constitution was the reaffirmation of equality for all citizens of all religious persuasions, "with freedom of religious observance and for the community schools."33 It did, however contain six articles that were found offending in Paris. Article 2 was an echo of the Syrian Congress of 1920. It declared that "the Syrian territories detached from the Ottoman Empire constitute an indivisible political unity; the divisions which have taken place between the end of war and the present time leave this unity unaffected."34 Thus, neither the detachment of Palestine nor the territorial partition was recognized. The other "offending" articles empowered the Syrian government to organize its own national army (Article110), and the president of the republic to conclude treaties, receive ambassadors, grant pardons and declare martial law (Articles 74, 75, 73, and 112).35 If these articles had been ratified and accepted by France, it would have meant, quite simply, the end of the mandate. Finding them unacceptable, France rejected the articles on the grounds that they were incompatible with the terms of the mandate and suspended the assembly. In short, the main reason was that France would have been denied the effective control over Syria that French colonial activists had fought for since 1914.

Critics (mainly colonialists) claimed that France's abdication from the "Orient" had begun with the establishment of a Syrian Constituent Assembly that was determined to elude the "imperative character of France's international obligations."36 The High Commissioner was accused of bargaining away what France had secured with its own "sweat and blood."36 A year later, France imposed its own constitution on Syria; it upheld France's role as mandate authority, thus preventing Syria from adopting any measures that might intrude on French mandatory privileges. In the coming years, France held the power to veto legislation proposed by Syrian presidents and prime ministers and legislatures aided by this constitution. France's power to veto legislation made "a charade out of Syrian political life and lent it an aura of unreality."38 During the mandate period, France ruled Syria through French administrators and advisers as effectively as any colony; no significant decision could be taken at any level without French approval. After nearly 20 years of the mandate, Syria remained without independence, without institutions of self-government and without territorial unity.


The political arrangements imposed by the French under the mandate went wrong from the start. The policy of division was integral to the original French approach to the mandate. France was there for her own strategic, economic and ideological purposes. The French made very few attempts to promote or expedite the formal independence of either Syria or Lebanon. Rather, they haggled for decades over the terms of an independence treaty and eventually had to be forced by the British to evacuate without a treaty in 1946. They did little to train indigenous officials with the subsidiary charges and imposed an artificial and unrealistic division between the different components of Syria and Lebanon.

They failed to give Syria proper instruction in responsible self-government. The numerous divisions and re-divisions of Syria over a quarter century obstructed the development of a unified administrative elite. The outcome was that Syria emerged after 1945 as a unitary state with very little experience of unity. A fundamental social and political reconstruction that might, in the longer term, have generated a democratic and stable society was not part of the French plan. The process of political radicalization was initiated during the era of the French mandate, the legacy of which was almost a guarantee of Syria's political instability.

The creation of Greater Lebanon condemned the Lebanese to an unstable political system based on sectarian rivalries. Lebanon's uncertain relationship with its Arab neighbors was not the only source of communal tension within the new state. The geographical distribution of the various religious communities posed problems for the creation of a cohesive national system of government. The separation of the Muslim coastal areas as part of Lebanon has proven to be a major mistake that led to much bloodshed in the 1970s and 1980s, as various groups attacked the leadership role of the Maronite minority in what became a predominantly Muslim country.


1 George Antonius," Syria and the French Mandate," International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1931-1939) 13, no. 4 (July-August, 1934): 525.

2 A. L. Tibawi, A Modern History of Syria Including Lebanon and Palestine (Macmillan St. Martin's Press, 1969), 318.

3 Curzon to Allenby, March 8 and 13, 1920, XIII, nos. 215, 220, Foreign Office: Documents on British Foreign Policy (hereafter DBFP), 1919-1939, ed. R. Butler et al. First series, vols. I-XXIX. London, 1947-74.

4 Curzon to Derby, November 7, 1919, IV, No.54, DBFP.

5 Jan Karl Tanenbaum, "France and the Arab Middle East, 1914-1920," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series 68, no. 7 (1978): 44.

6 Christopher M. Andrew and A.S. Kanya-Forstner, The Climax of French Imperial Expansion: 1914-1924 (Stanford University Press, 1981), 204.

7 D.K. Fieldhouse, Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958 (Oxford University Press, 2006), 253.

8 Dan Eldar, "France in Syria: The Abolition of the Sharifian Government, April-July 1920," Middle Eastern Studies 29, 3 (July 1993), 488-89.

9 Andrew and Kanya-Forstner, Climax, 202-3.

10 Berthelot to Vansittart, June 29, 1920, DBFP, XIII, 298, no.2.

11 Derby to Curzon, December 20, 1919, DBFP, IV, 402, no.2, no. 416.

12 Tibawi, Modern, 329.

13 Mary C. Wilson, "The Hashemites, the Arab Revolt and Arab Nationalism," in Rashid Khalidi, Lisa Anderson, Muhammad Muslih and Reeva S. Simon, eds., The Origins of Arab Nationalism (Columbia University Press, 1991), 217.

14 Aron S. Klieman, Foundation of British Policy in the Arab World: The Cairo Conference of 1921 (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970), 51.

15 James L. Gelvin, "The Other Arab Nationalism: Syrian/Arab Populism in Its Historical and International Contexts," in James P. Jankowski and Israel Gershoni, eds., Rethinking Nationalism in the Arab Middle East (Columbia University Press, 1997): 231-3.

16 E. D. Akarlı, The Long Peace: Ottoman Lebanon, 1861-1920 (University of California Press, 1993), which provides the best detailed accounts of the politics of the Mount Lebanon before 1914.

17 Philips S. Khoury, Syria and the French Mandate; The Politics of Arab Nationalism, 1920-1945 (I. B. Tauris, 1987), 57.

18 Harry N. Howard, The King-Crane Commission (Beirut: Khayats, 1963): 38-41.

19 William L. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, 3rd ed. (Westview Press, 2004), 225.

20 Khoury, Syria, 58.

21 Itamar Rabinovich, The View from Damascus: State, Political Community and Foreign Relations in Twentieth-Century Syria (Vallentine Mitchell Press, 2008), 13.

22 Edmund Burke III, "A Comparative View of French Native Policy in Morocco and Syria," Middle Eastern Studies 9, no. 2 (May 1973): 175-86.

23 The Alawites were members of the Nusayri sect, which had a strong Shii doctrinal strain, and had inhabited the mountainous areas of northwest Syria even before the Ottomans took over. The Druze were an entirely endogamous community, probably starting in Egypt, whose religion was an eclectic mix of Islamic, Christian, Greek and pagan concepts. They were another tough mountain group that had survived four centuries of Turkish rule and were more or less left to themselves. See A. Hourani, Minorities in the Arab World (Oxford University Press, 1947).

24 Khoury, Syria, 58-59.

25 Ibid., 59.

26 Ibid., see table I-3, 15.

27 Susan Pedersen, "The Meaning of the Mandates System: An Argument" Geschichte und Gesellschaft 32, no. 4 (October-December 2006), 561-62.

28 League of Nations Official Journal (August 1922): 1013-17.

29 Peter A. Shambrook, French Imperialism in Syria 1927-1936 (Ithaca Press, 1998), 2.

30 Jan Karl Tanenbaum, "France and the Arab Middle East, 1914-1920," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series 68, no. 7 (1978): 42.

31 Shambrook, French Imperialism, 6.

32 Foreign Office (FO) 371/3666, vol. 13076. Hole to Chamberlain, June 28, 1928.

33 Stephen H. Longrigg, Syria and Lebanon under French Mandate (Oxford University Press, 1958), 184.

34 Tibawi, Modern, 348.

35 Ibid., 20.

36 FO 371/4390, vol. 13074. Hole to Lord Cushendun, August 9, 1928.

37 FO 371/4429, vol. 13037. Air Ministry to FO, August 25, 1928.

38 Cleveland, History, 224.